Following spirited discussions, a proposed standard guide on design data for plastics moved forward at an international technical subcommittee meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
Ultimately, the guide could cut the costs of generating long-term performance data and give another tool to designers evaluating polymer performance parameters.
Work group members split initially on whether to consider the proposal as a standard or a technical report. Eventually at the next level of consideration, the subcommittee voted 11-2 on Sept. 18 to proceed toward developing a standard guide, which is considered more flexible and carries more impact than a technical report.
Switzerland and France preferred to channel the effort into a technical report.
Now, 28 countries will vote on the proposal as a new work item in balloting under the auspices of the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization. After several balloting steps, the proposal could become an international standard by 1999.
The guide identifies data needed for plastics' mechanical performance and processing analysis and would complement five ISO comparable-data standards. Design engineers can begin to cite the guide as a reference, once it reaches the level of a draft international standard.
If adopted, the guide could lessen the testing expenses of designing with plastics and provide comparable data to design engineers, proponents say.
Now testing facilities spend at least $6,000 to measure a set of data for a single new grade of resin, said Ernst Schmachtenberg of the University of Essen's Institute for Plastics in Mechanical Engineering in Essen, Germany.
Schmachtenberg surveyed seven testing sites in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany and, in a November report, recommended that such facilities ``measure only the data which is necessary and use it to calculate what is possible.''